Master's Program

The Biology Department offers two options:

  • Plan I requires the completion, in good academic standing, of at least 24 semester hours of appropriate graduate work and 6 semester hours of thesis research, with the presentation of an acceptable thesis embodying the results of original research work.
  • Plan II requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of appropriate course work. The Plan II Master’s degree may not require research and does not require a formal thesis; however, students are often expected to gain insight into the techniques of problem posing and problem solving and to use these insights to prepare a written report.

Graduate students pursuing an M.S. in biology may specialize in research activities at all levels of biological organization, with emphases on ecophysiology, cellular and molecular biology, endocrinology, and ecology of aquatic organisms, or on models related to human disease.

To qualify for candidacy, students must satisfactorily complete either a written or an oral comprehensive examination. As part of the final defense of the student's thesis or comprehensive review paper (Plan II), a public departmental seminar must be presented.

A Multidisciplinary Degree

woman using microscope.

Since scientific problems encountered today are multifaceted and require multidisciplinary approaches, students are expected to acquire a broad background in the physical and life sciences. M.S. students must have competency in five of the following areas—ecology, physiology, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, microbiology, and molecular biology.

Students are also expected to satisfactorily complete a course or sequence in biometry and any advanced courses designated by their graduate study committees consistent with the chosen area of specialization.

Students must also enroll in three seminar courses approved by their graduate study committees. One of the seminars must be outside the primary area of specialization. Also, every student is required to demonstrate proficiency in teaching by delivering formal course lectures or by conducting instructional laboratories.

Course Catalog

A complete list of courses is available in the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Application Deadlines

Students may enter at the beginning of any semester, with deadlines of March 1 for the Summer and Fall semesters and October 15 for the Spring semester.


UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.